Each Friday, I post Flashback Friday, where I use St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Examen as a guide and usually ask the following questions: For what are you least grateful this past week? For what are you most grateful this past week?
This is not just for what I am least grateful for this past week, but for the past month: That not only have I neglected writing any Flashback Friday posts, but also that I have neglected my spiritual life, period. I haven’t been to Mass in more than a month and haven’t read The Liturgy of the Hours in probably two months.
On Monday, I received an e-mail from our religious education director, who also coordinates other events at our church including dinners. She was asking for food supplies for a Polish dinner, which is tonight at the church. She also mentioned that an envelope with my name was in the sacristy. About a month ago, my spiritual director left me a copy of this year’s guide for the Liturgy of the Hours there. Being in the spiritual funk in which I’ve been, I just hadn’t picked it up yet. My wife told me she could supply four out of eight pounds of butter needed for the dinner, and I e-mailed the religious education director that I could bring it on Wednesday. She told me she could have the envelope ready for me too.
Whether she knows it or not, just by that simple act of including me in her e-mail list and mentioning that the envelope was there for me, she has helped me to begin to get out of my spiritual funk. No, I’m not completely out of it, but realizing that I’m a member of a community that does know who I am (even if it’s a month later) does help, as well as getting the guide, which will allow me to get back to reading The Liturgy of the Hours.
Lent begins this Wednesday, March 9, and I plan to use it as a time of renewing my own faith, not just by reading the Liturgy of the Hours and returning to Mass, but also by simple acts of kindness toward others like the one extended to me by the religious education director. I’m not sure yet what form those simple acts will take, but I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me when the time comes to perform them.
Have you ever had a simple act of kindness performed for you that made a difference in your life, even if the person who offered the kindness didn’t realize what it meant to you? If you are Christian, what do you plan on doing for this Lenten season? If you are not Christian, does your faith ever inspire you to perform simple acts of kindness? If not, I encourage you to join me in performing simple acts of kindness for others over the next 40 days of the Christian Lenten season.
Though this above video might be overly sentimental to some (including me), it illustrates the types of simple acts of kindness about which we might not think, but that are available to us every day.